AG Yost, Lima Optimists honor law enforcement

·2 min read

May 10—LIMA — "You are the foundation of civilization. Without you, there isn't a civilization. There isn't a society."

That was the message from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to several police officers gathered Wednesday at the American Legion in Lima for the Lima Noon Optimist Club's law enforcement appreciation event. Yost served as the keynote speaker for the event, praising the officers in the room representing various law enforcement agencies in Allen County, including the Allen County Sheriff's Office, the Lima Police Department and the Shawnee Township Police Department.

Yost's remarks were given after touring Safety City and learning about what the Optimist Club and the community at large has been doing to promote best safety practices for young people.

"This hands-on kind of approach to say, 'Here's how to deal with a tornado or fire,' or 'Here's how to ride a bike safely on the street,' I love that kind of interaction," Yost said. "It's only going to build better relationships between law enforcement and the community as these kids grow up.

At the event, Yost emphasized that, despite the struggles that law enforcement agencies have faced in building trust in various communities over the past several years, they are an indispensable component in keeping communities safe.

"The first function of government is public safety," he said. "It doesn't matter how good your schools are, how beautiful your parks are or if your streets are paved with gold. If you're afraid to go out of the house because you're not safe, none of it matters. So we're here to promote respect for the rule of law for everybody, with the same rules for everybody."

That need for law enforcement is even greater now given the continued struggle against opioid abuse throughout the region and the state.

"It's not on the front pages as much as it used to be, but it's still raging on out there," he said. "One of the reasons is our southern border is insecure. It is pourous, and this stuff, including this new rainbow fentanyl that looks like candy, is flooding across the border."

For the officers gathered at the event, it was gratifying to see their efforts being recognized.

"It's a big deal for us and it's a nice thank you to get for law enforcement, especially in today's day and age where they're not treated as well as they should," Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia said.

"We appreciate the community support, the mayor's support, the city council's support," Lima Police Chief Angel Cortes said. "Our law enforcement officers work hard every day to make sure the community is safe, and we're going to continue to do that."

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.